Author Topic: Penance  (Read 1340 times)

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Offline icecreamsandwich

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« on: February 28, 2013, 12:42:34 PM »
Hi all :).

In reading the pamphlet of the Book of Common Prayer, it has a bit on the sacrament of Penance.

This is one of the first things I can remember asking my priest, in trying to understand Orthodoxy better (I attend a Byzantine Rite church): he said that while the Orthodox Church does have confession, it's not so much as a kind of "you've done wrong and you're going to be judged for it, so do this in penance to pay this penalty for this sin" type of thing (obviously he said it a lot better than I haha), but rather that the Church looks at the situation as being as a more "sickness" and that the purpose of confession is to bring healing - namely, it's looking at the healing aspect, rather than the punishment aspect.

So, the question is, is naming it Penance just invoking the name to make it more similar to those from a different Western church, while keeping the attitude towards it the same as my priest said, or is it that the attitude behind penance is the same as the first example (judgment for a sin, and paying a specific penalty) and that the Western Rite churches tend to agree with that attitude?

and (scroll down - it's towards the end of the contents)

Thanks :).
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 12:43:41 PM by icecreamsandwich »
Please correct me if I'm wrong - I'm still learning as I go along.

Offline Nephi

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Re: Penance
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 01:20:56 PM »
Penance is a universal concept and term that goes back to the early church fathers.

However, the connotations are subtly different. As far as I know, in the West penance has come to be fulfilling punishment due for sin (and sins that haven't received proper penance must be finished in purgatory) toward reconciliation with God. The East, and presumably the Western Rite, tends to understand penance as an act of contrition or sacrifice (even self-punishment) that is to lead towards reconciliation through healing.

Someone else may correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I understand it.